May 8, 2008


Since I did pretty much the same thing every time I volunteered I'm journaling by month so that you don’t get a lot of repeats.
This was my first month of volunteering. Last semester I worked with PCYC in North Minneapolis. Monroe and Aces were both new to me, but the neighborhood was not. This is close to the area I grew up in which is one of the reasons I picked this location.
The first couple days I had to learn the system and the schedule that was followed the days that I was going to be there. All the volunteers meet up in the cafeteria and then wait for the kids to come in. Then we would be divided up amongst the different grades of children. I chose 5th graders since I have a nephew at home who is that age, so it wouldn’t be anything I was unfamiliar with.
Once we were in the groups things became kind of awkward. The children weren’t familiar with me at all like they were with a few other volunteers who were returning. There also wasn’t a set group of kids in each class; they were in the middle of a transition between different teachers. This made it kind of difficult for me to get to know the kids or for them to get to know me, but I guess I just arrived at the wrong time.
This first month was pretty much me getting used to the system and getting to know kids as they were switching in and out of class. I took the opportunity to stay with the same teacher and grade the whole time unlike most other volunteers who took a different group every time they came. This gave me the ability to get to know a few kids really well instead of spending little time with a lot of kids.
This month everything was set. I was used to the system now and I was with a set group of kids since all the transitions were over. They were all also really familiar with me; they recognized me and came to me for help instead of me having to ask them if they needed it. I also got to talk to kids about their interests and once had an extensive conversation with one about soccer.
By the end of the month the main teacher in the classroom asked me if I wanted to do some of the teaching since it seemed the kids liked me more. I thought this was pretty cool. The kids and I worked on putting together thank you notes to the Timberwolves. It went pretty well and the kids seemed pretty responsive to me teaching and guiding them through the assignment.
The teacher and I had also developed a pretty good relationship. When he was teaching it would often ask me for information or my view on the subject. I was pretty active in the lessons aside from just helping kids like homework, which I thought was going to be the only thing I was doing.
April didn’t differ much from March. I still was very active in the class and grew more familiar with the kids. This was my last month though. I think that on the day I was leaving the teacher was leaving also, so the next week the kids would have a completely new set of people in the class.
I feel like I had a great experience volunteering with Aces. It took a month for everything to get set but after it was I became really connected with the kids I was helping. Sticking with the same group is something else I’m glad I did. I don’t know how every other volunteer’s time but I feel like mine was pretty unique from theirs. Hopefully in the future I will get the opportunity to go back to Aces and Monroe.

April 24, 2008

Response to Presentations


I thought the first presentation we saw on the 21st was very informative and clear. They didn't mess around with any excess information and you got to hear exactly what they wanted you to. I found all 4 of there alternative building methods were interesting.
The most interesting piece to me was the cob material. The other three I have heard at least a little about before but cob was something I was totally unfamiliar with. It also seemed to be a very good construction material for the sustainable future. I liked how far back this material goes and that it is still being used today. What we learned about the construction from the presentation was interesting. I like the fact that communities or groups of people come together to construct this substance.
Bamboo is another material that interested me. I thought it was only suitable in the warmer climates like south east Asia. Learning that it can be utilized and effective anywhere opens up a lot of thoughts in my head.
The recycling of materials interested me mostly because its something that my group is also looking at. I liked how the whole theme of this group was to use the land around you to make constructions and thhat is something that I think is key in buildings a sustainable environment.

The next presentation I would like to comment on is the Dubai Package one we saw on the 28th. The opening with the System of a Down song was really different. I couldn't connect the song at all to the presentation but it was unique to try it out I guess. The thing that was most interesting about this presentation was all the information they gave about Dubai, a place I knew little about but it appears to be becoming a very important and unique place for the future.

With the information they provided I really say Dubai as a city of the future. All the culture is being sacraficed for glamour and tourism and its expanding rapidly and constantly. This makes me think about all the large American cities that have little culture left. Most cities will become pure tourism and glamour. For some reason though I don't a culture can truly die, something new will develop.

I like how the presentation was really focused on a specific spot. Most others were looking at a big picture, like whole countries. They also looked at a wide range of things in Dubai. They even commented on the design of the money. It was really complete.

April 2, 2008


This cover pages are simple mockups and are no actual representation of the final product.


This design has a sketch of cliff dwellings on the left merged with a modern city on the right. I just wanted to give a small message of what we will be going over in the project, indidenous techniques being applied to modern communities. The title is small and in the corner. It will also include our names. I chose to keep this small because I didn't want that to be the main focus. I feel like the title in this project isn't that important since all the projects are millenium goals. The important thing is the information we provide which is why the cover is somewhat bare.


This is a similar design except with no title for reasons I mentioned above. This is pretty much just another way of presenting the merging concept from the first mockup. This one also is more like a collage of realistic and familiar places.


This last design has an image I created that is kind of like a concept design of a community that might be product of our project. It uses the Ccliff dwelling idea of having a lot of spaces joined together to use less heat and energy of moving all over the place since every thing would be one structure. The title also stands out more.

Images in concept 2:

March 12, 2008

Portfolio: Physical or Digital

When I first thought about how this project will be presented two forms popped in my mind. These were a physical presentation like a board, pamphlet, or portfolio and a digital design like a Power Point or website. At first I was leaning more towards a website. I could function and appear similar to these blogs. The Core77 site that was suggested in class seems to be a good depiction of heavily designed blog.


Using the web or a digital format seems to be the future of presentations but after some thought and talking to the others in my group we decided that a portfolio would be the best way to go. Despite probably being entirely conceived in a computer program it will probably have a better effect on the reader because they get more of a feel for the porject. They will be close to the images and text and can freely move through the document.


Here is an example of a physical portfolio. Ours wil probably be along this line but I think we want to focus more on images. We have also started developing a framework to show the information on the page. There will be an image or several images showing one of our processes and then some text explaining it. The whole document will also be broken up into different categories. I'm thinking of proposing the idea that It should be in a different shape and not 8.5 x 11. Maybe even a little obscure.

Portfolio Image from:

March 4, 2008

"The architect of the future will build imitating Nature, for it is the most rational, long-lasting and economical of all methods." - Gaudi


Probably one of the most influential things in my life was the St. Paul skyline. Its visible from my home so as a child I was always taken by it's size as it loomed over me. It inspired many of my drawings and LEGO creations as a child and even spurred me to tell my dad that one day I was going to destory the buildings and make new ones. That was my start on the path towards architecture. I probably saw that ever present skyline as one of the most powerful things in sight and I could have that ability too if I destroyed it and shaped my own.

It was also ever changing in front of my eyes. The buildings and the physical city are like the framework. I constently saw soaring cranes creating new buildings, creating new framework. The clockwork begins once cars, people, and energy(like the first blog), get added. The same pattern gets repeated day after day and I could observe this from my home as a child. All this came to together and formed a phnomena for me.

Other built environments inspired me greatly as a child. This were the settings of movies, TV shows, and games I would see.




I was very facinated by science fiction settings and after seeing these various ones I would imagine my own and try to create them in similar ways that I tried to depict the St. Paul skyline. These settings were structured slightly different. The framework became the stting, time and place, of the movie and the clockwork came from the stories and characters that could be watched again and again. These formed the phenomena of watching the movie or playing the game. As I grew up I became very interested in the style of architecture present in some of this media and looked into some architects whos style was similar. I came across greats like Rem Koolhaas. In class, going over some of these films and the architects that inspired them also really interested and I'm glad we looked at those. Even today I still try to depict my own fictional settings in my sketches.



St. Paul:
Star Wars:
Blade Runner:
Sketches: My own sketch book.

February 27, 2008

Dr. Strangelove

"Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the war room! " - President Muffley


After just watching the movie "Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned To Stop Worring And Love The Bomb", the space described in the blog prompt kind of reminded me of the war room (pictured above) featured in the movie. Here is this spot where all of America's leaders come together and try to solve the problem at hand. The space is pretty void besides a table, phones, maps, and a buffet but the spot is more about all the ideas that start to flow which aren't limited at all. Some of these ideas are really out there, showing how unlimited they are. Its simply an unbound place for these thoughts.


Here is the master of the biggest idea in the movie's finale, Dr. Strangelove.

My own ideas with this space are quite different though. I kind of want to think of it as a empty spot where your's and other's ideas could grow and elaborate and then use your thoughts to create something physical or that would impact the world. Nothing would be limited in this space because there would be nothing at all. At the same time for the same reason almost everything would be limited. Every idea in this space would have to be , or acted to be expressed. For me thats perfect since I love to draw and don't really have a problem expressing myself that way. Others have trouble with this thats why I thought of another, more unrealistic place.

This other spot would be virtual, I guess kind of like the Matrix or something where anything is possible or can be created at your will. Anything you can think of can be manifested in three demensions and be seemingly real. This would make it easy to collaborate and share with others. There would be no constraints because there would be nothing unless you created it. I can imagine future meetings about planning or something being done is a similar space.


February 20, 2008

Swimming Bird


"This miserable state is borne by the wretched souls of those who lived without disgrace and without praise."
- Dante Alighieri


I compare these two images because they are both from similar locations, The American Southwest, More specifically Arizona. The top shows a kid of "utopia" created for the people of Arizona. Rows upon rows of houses all proably with AC pumping. There is also little green sapce and artifical lakes. These "utopias" are heavily run by electrictiy of course to power all those ACs. The Native structure on the bottom elimates the need for a cooling machine. They build into the ground and under cliffs to utilize the Earth's temperature and shade. They affect the land very little, in fact they are almost one with it, emerging from it. In the future Southwestern cities should look back at these techniques and embrace them.

"Know this, Swimming Bird: This blue eye perceives all things conjoined, the past, the future, and the present. Everything flows, and all is connected. This eye is not merely seeing reality. It is touching the truth. Open the eye of truth. There is nothing to fear." - Old Man Bull

Download file

Sorry I couldn't figure out how to get the song to just play without you having to download it.

This song gives a feeling of a looming danger but also refrences tribal music. Hinting at the key to defeat the looming danger of this current Arizona housing.

Image 1:
Image 2:,_Arizona.jpg/800px-Hohokam_cliff_dwelling_(Montezuma_Castle),_Arizona.jpg

February 13, 2008

Remembering the past, through memories and ruins.

I had a lot of trouble thinking of social design problems so I went back and thought about St. Paul, where I'm from, a familiar place. I'm to unfamiliar with Minneapolis to get ideas from it. So, while thinking of my home, the first social design issue that popped in my head was occurring right across the street from me.


Circled in red are three houses that didn't get built there until I was in 8th grade. Before that there as a huge garden that took up that whole lot. It was for the whole community to use. It was a marvelous gathering spot for people from all over my neighborhood. Every morning I would wake up and see kids and adults working and playing in this garden. It was also a great spot for my friends and I to run through the various paths between the plants and explore. Now there is just three houses. The thing that bothers me the most isn't that it was destroyed and houses were put there but the fact that each house is completely the same inside and out. You can even see from the satellite photo that even the paths that lead to the garage are the same. The only thing thats different is the colors. Compared to every house in my neighborhood, this group of triplets, sticks out like a sore thumb. Every other house in my neighborhood is very different from one another, as you can also see from the photo.

I fear this is the future of housing in America, mass produced identical houses. Yeah its more efficient but it destroys the uniqueness of neighborhoods that distinguishes them from all others. I used to think that this only happens way out in the suburbs where the city is expanding. Now I feel that when I'm older the only unique older houses will be left in the neighborhoods so close to the city, and there will be few at that. We will drive through miles of once farm land and see house after house that looks exactly the same. Hopefully this isn't the case.

The satellite photo is from

February 6, 2008

A Living City aka Blog Prompt 1

When I think of energy, flow, and transformation I think of a living being but this topic is applied to a city, something thats not living but inhabited by living things. The living things that inhabit it though are what make it living. If I imagine an uninhabited city, it's dead. There would be no movement or activity going on.


The energy of the city comes from the living beings that inhabit it. From my dorm window I can view downtown Minneapolis. Even at night the city has a constant flowing of cars. Buildings windows are lit signifing the presence of people. Traffic lights are changing color. At night I feel is the best time to see the energy flow through the city. The image gives just an example of Minneapolis as I see it at night. My view is from a distance though.


Flow not only comes from the movement of people. Of course people are apart of it. Streets, sidewalks, paths all create channels for the energy that is people to flow through. People also flow through the buildings, moving in and out like blood going through a heart. Buildings also have other things flowing through them. Things like water, electricity, and air. The buildings are living themselves because of this way that they channel that energy and cycle it around, using it to power themselves. Between buildings energy also flows. The create paths for wind to move strengthening it or weakening it. Under cities there is also flow. Underground is a passage for energy to move into buildings and other locations. Some cities even involve people in underground flow with subways. The motion blur in the image shows a better depiction of the movement in the city.

Transformation occurs in cities by the way they grow. I think everytime I'm downtown there is something being built or added on to. Cities are constently expanding outwards. Cities can also die, disapear, or shrink.


The flow of people to can be changed by a new highway that finds a way around it or something and the city will begin to shrink and will stop growing. When I think this idea I think of an old west town that is dying because a railway doesn't go by it or something. War can destroy cities but if they had a constant flow of energy they will be revived and rebuilt.

Images from
- Christian

January 28, 2008

Trying this out

Just testing to see how this blog stuff works.